For Social Media, it’s all about Facebook – or is it?

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Or: You can’t outsource your communications strategy!

Lately studies showed that Facebook (FB) is now the world’s largest Social Media network – so an easy decision on where to put your resources and start your organization’s Social Media initiatives? Well, many of those articles announcing FB as the winner only looked at a handful of ‘global’ networks (e.g. Myspace, Friendster). So yes, in absolute terms, FB is bigger than the likes of MySpace. But does that actually matter? Maybe – because it is easy to focus on simply one platform or network to effectively use your resources to achieve your communications or outreach objectives.

Talking about this: if your target market is Korea, maybe you should rather look at Cyworld; for China – don’t ignore Xiaonei/Renen, Kaixin or 51.com; in Japan, better consider Mixi (sidenote: did you know that over 50% of users access the service via mobile devices?)…  Or if Twitter is the buzz you want to follow – have you considered that in China alone there are four very popular local Twitter-like services (some would call them ‘clones’)?

While there is actually some consolidation going on, Social Media is by definition actually a very native language driven affair. Chinese is currently the 2nd most popular internet language. If you consider the relatively low level of internet penetration in China today – then Chinese can actually be expected to become the number one online language within the next months or latest years in terms of pure volume of virtual communication (e.g. through messengers) or content (e.g. blogs, forums).

Looking just at these few indicators, it is quite obvious that there is unfortunately no one-dimensional answer when it comes to which social media channels would be the best for your organization’s engagement plan. Very old-school like, it goes back to the drawing-board to ask yourself: what are your objectives, your target audience and your resources before blindly jumping on the Social Media wagon.

Of course it is important to outsource parts of your tactics and advice – and leverage others’ expertise and experience. But still every organization’s chief communicator has to decide on the direction – both for online and offline. For that, decision makers need to build inhouse capabilities – because you can’t outsource strategy!

Lars Voedisch – @larsv

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